Friday, November 8

Mini Reviews: November 8th Edition [Nintendo Switch eShop]

New Super Lucky’s Tale [Nindie Choice!] - For me New Super Lucky’s Tale marks a bit of an exciting time on the Switch, and as a fan of classic platforming. While there are many games that have aimed for hitting the mark of the likes of the classic Mario franchises like Super Mario 64 nothing has really proven up to the task. While some may consider it blasphemous I’m here to say this title has absolutely hit the mark, and done so with its own sense of humor and style rather than being derivative. Smart and varied level design, a mix of 2D and 3D platforming which are both very successful, and some nods that absolutely put a smile on my make for more than a handful of hours of family-friendly enjoyment.

There’s a completionist bent to things, with plenty to collect, but it is in no way oppressive and most of the time it’s just about being thorough. What you need to be able to get to the final boss and win is only a portion of what’s out there so the degree of difficulty is lenient in the fact that you can outright avoid what you struggle with. Even better, once you beat the game there’s an entire additional area full of some varied and outright brutal levels that will absolutely test your skills and patience. The team at Playful absolutely deserve credit and praise for setting an aggressive goal and then knocking it out of the park, this is Indie of the Year material through and through.

Juicy Realm [Nindie Choice!] - When it comes to roguelike shooters I’m both a tremendous fan and often a picky critic. We’ve been absolutely spoiled on this system with some incredibly varied top-tier titles that range from having a quick hit arcade feel to ones that are a slower burn and almost adventure-like. That makes it tough for new titles to break in, needing to throw down something pretty impressive to crack through and compete. Juicy Realm is absolutely a game that does just that, using its somewhat unusual art style and characters to suck you in, but then making you work hard to survive while working with some bizarre weapons and a fair amount of risk and reward as you try to go the distance. Varied initial characters are complemented by even more that can be unlocked, and while the random nature of the weapons you may encounter tends to make them a little more alike each person’s special skills can make a massive difference depending on how you prefer to play. Small complaints like the exits sometimes being far harder to spot than they should be are there but the core gameplay makes it easy to ignore completely so you can just keep playing. Throw in progressive powering up, new weapon unlocks, and ways to increase your burden for more rewards and this could easily become your go-to shooter on the system for quite some time.

Incredible Mandy - While a glance at the screenshots for Incredible Mndy can give you some Zelda vibes and thoughts of adventure, in practice it’s really a game sporting a sword-wielding hero who then mostly uses it to solve environmental puzzles of various kinds. The good news is that the mechanics used are quite different from the norm and can be clever, the bad news is that outside of that unless you’re dialed into the game’s story there isn’t ultimately very much to offer that elicits excitement. If you’re looking for a new take on environmental puzzles and can put up with some quirks, Mandy may not be quite Incredible but at least thoroughly adequate for the right audience.

Construction Simulator 2 - Simulations like this one are generally a “love them or leave” them affair, offering up a window into what some would say is the excitement of operating big equipment but also sometimes getting mired in the minutiae of reality. Sure, operating a backhoe, building things up, and tearing things down can have its moments… but you can expect quite a load of minutia involving moving things around and buying supplies and equipment periodically. If you’re hoping for something to enhance your calm as you methodically complete your tasks on jobs, often being told what to do at every step, that’s great.

Agony - Survival horror to date has mostly been a true horror show on the Switch, and not in a good way. Unfortunately, Agony continues the trend, delivering what mostly amounts to a tedious walking simulator through hell as you try to not to get creeped out by an almost numbing amount of generally unappealing nudity. Would it hurt the people in hell to put something light on? Even if the gameplay wasn’t so thoroughly “Meh” the game’s performance problems almost certainly be a killer. Stutters, pauses, and a general degree of wonkiness will plague you throughout, and considering the payoff is generally so weak it’s very hard to recommend this to anyone, even if you’re hard up for a decent scare… especially since the game really doesn’t deliver on much more than being weird and creepy in general.